Candlemas, The Feast of the Purification

Today, February 2, is the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is also called Candlemas and is the last feast in the Christmastide cycle of the liturgy. According to the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, (Angelus Press, 2004) it is perhaps the oldest Marian feast. It commemorates  our Blessed Mother’s obedience to the Mosaic Law by going to the Temple in Jerusalem and making the prescribed purification offerings forty days after the birth of her Child. Thus, Christmastide officially ends with an intimation of the purification to come in Lent.

Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, ... A light to enlighten the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.
Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, … A light to enlighten the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.

Additionally, this feast celebrates the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, which is the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. Traditionally, today’s Mass is preceded by the blessing and distribution of candles and a procession with the lighted candles. In the Prayers of Blessing, the Church prays, “O Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world, pour forth Thy blessing upon these candles and sanctify them with the light of Thy grace, and mercifully grant that as these lights enkindled with visible fire dispel the darkness of night, so our hearts illumined by invisible fire, that is, by the splendor of the Holy Ghost, may be free from every blindness due to vice, so that with clear sight our minds may discern what is pleasing to Thee and profitable to our salvation, so that after the darksome perils of this life we may deserve to attain to never-fading light.”

During the distribution of candles, the choir sings the Canticle of Simeon: “Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace, according to Thy word. Because mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples. A light to enlighten the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.”

The First Antiphon is too beautiful to omit in this brief review: “Adorn thy bridal-chamber O Sion, and welcome Christ the King. With loving embrace greet Mary, the very gate of heaven, for she brought to thee the glorious King of new light. Ever Virgin she remaineth, yet in her arms doth bear the Son begotten before the day-star;  that Child Whom Simeon did take into his arms and proclaim to the nations as Lord of life and Savior of the world.”

In his meditation for today,  (Divine Intimacy,TAN Books, 1996), Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. tells us, “We see Jesus and Mary submitting themselves to laws by which they are not bound; Jesus does not need to be redeemed, nor Mary to be purified. These are lessons in humility and respect for the law of God. … Whereas Mary had no need to be purified, let us humble ourselves and acknowledge our extreme need of purification.”

These “lessons in humility and respect for the law of God” referred to above are sorely neglected in our day, especially by the priests and hierarchy of the post-conciliar church. The Rosary Crusade is precisely the remedy for this. In it, we pray for the true restoration of all things in Christ, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself has requested of Sister Lucia of Fatima. As we proceed with our Rosary Crusade, we offer ourselves to Jesus through the most pure hands of Mary.  O Mary Immaculate, Virgin Most Pure, lead us through this purification and strengthen us so that we may not fail in these dark and troubled times.

Viva Christo Rey!

~ posted by evensong ~